BACKPACKER Nabs 4 National Magazine Award Noms

We're finalists in General Excellence, General Excellence Online, Personal Service Online, and Best Essay, for Tracy Ross's "The Source of All Things"

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We generally don’t like to spend too much time blowing our own horn around BACKPACKER HQ (I was once nearly fired for attempting a Star Wars trumpet solo), but every once in a while, it’s nice to pat each other on the back and break out the good scotch.

So yesterday, backs were sore and heads were buzzing, because the American Society of Magazine Editors announced finalists for the National Magazine Awards, and BACKPACKER came away with four noms: General Excellence, General Excellence Online, Personal Service, and Best Essay, for Senior Editor Tracy Ross’s “The Source of All Things.”

For all you non-industry peeps, the National Magazine Awards (or NMA’s) are like our industry’s version of the Oscars, complete with a goofy, nicknamed statuette (it’s called the Ellie). And like the Oscars, we feel it’s quite an honor just to be nominated. Our humble little mag will face off against giants in the field like The Atlantic, New York, Texas Monthly, W, Runner’s World, CNN Money, and The New Yorker.

Big ups to the BACKPACKER staff led by our editor-in-chief Jon Dorn–this is the third nomination for General Excellence in the past four years. Insane. Plus, the Maps team led by Map Editor Kris Wagner, has gotten down and dirty so you can post trips, choose from thousands of trails, and even text hikes to your mobile phone. Senior Editor Tracy Ross dove into the shadowed depths of the Idaho wilderness and her own history to emerge with “The Source of All Things,” a moving essay that finds redemption even after the worst kind of family betrayal. And at, we’ll continue to provide all the survival videos, online exclusives, and latest outdoor news to back up our award-winning magazine. It’s the first time the site has been nominated for an NMA and we’re thrilled. ( editor Anthony Cerretani says I’m supposed to give a shout out to myself and Katie Herrell. And we, in turn, send the kudos right back.)

In the end, though, we’re only here because of you, our readers and users. You demand the best from us, and we’ll keep trying to live up to those high standards. We know you won’t be shy about letting us know how we’re doing—and besides, you know where we live.

—Ted Alvarez

2009 NMA Finalists Announced